Is Fatigue a Disease-Specific or Generic Symptom in Chronic Medical Conditions?

Juliane Menting*, Cees J Tack, Gijs Bleijenberg, Rogier Donders, Hal A Droogleever Fortuyn, Jaap Fransen, Martine M Goedendorp, Joke S Kalkman, Riet Strik-Albers, Nens van Alfen, Sieberen P van der Werf, Nicol C Voermans, Baziel G van Engelen, Hans Knoop

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVE: Severe fatigue is highly prevalent in various chronic diseases. Disease-specific fatigue models have been developed, but it is possible that fatigue-related factors in these models are similar across diseases. The purpose of the current study was to determine the amount of variance in fatigue severity explained by: (a) the specific disease, (b) factors associated with fatigue across different chronic diseases (transdiagnostic factors), and (c) the interactions between these factors and specific diseases.

    METHOD: Data from 15 studies that included 1696 patients with common chronic diseases and disorders that cause long-term disabilities were analyzed. Linear regression analysis with the generalized least-squares technique was used to determine fatigue-related factors associated with fatigue severity, that is, demographic variables, health-related symptoms and psychosocial variables.

    RESULTS: Type of chronic disease explained 11% of the variance noted in fatigue severity. The explained variance increased to 55% when the transdiagnostic factors were added to the model. These factors were female sex, age, motivational and concentration problems, pain, sleep disturbances, physical functioning, reduced activity and lower self-efficacy concerning fatigue. The predicted variance increased to 61% when interaction terms were added. Analysis of the interactions revealed that the relationship between fatigue severity and relevant predictors mainly differed in strength, not in direction.

    CONCLUSIONS: Fatigue severity can largely be explained by transdiagnostic factors; the associations vary between chronic diseases in strength and significance. This suggests that severely fatigued patients with different chronic diseases can probably benefit from a transdiagnostic fatigue-approach which focuses on individual patient needs rather than a specific disease. (PsycINFO Database Record

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)530-543
    Number of pages14
    JournalHealth Psychology
    Volume37
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun-2018

    Keywords

    • chronic disease
    • fatigue
    • health-related factors
    • psychosocial factors
    • transdiagnostic approach
    • RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL
    • COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY
    • MULTIPLE-SCLEROSIS FATIGUE
    • RHEUMATOID-ARTHRITIS
    • HIGHLY PREVALENT
    • MODEL
    • PREDICTORS
    • DISABILITY
    • DISORDERS
    • STROKE

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